Review: Mariinsky Stradivarius Ensemble, Milton Court Concert Hall, London
Tuesday 05 November 2013
The Berlin Phil, the Gewandhaus, and the CBSO have long done it, and now the Mariinsky are doing it too: sending a posse of top instrumentalists as chamber-music outriders to their main orchestral push. Making their British debut under Valery Gergiev in the Guildhall's new Milton Court auditorium, the Stradivarius Ensemble went through their paces with three works which showcased their instruments as much as their talent. For these were no ordinary instruments: Strads and Guarneris, Guandinis and Amatis, all from the golden age of string manufacture.
Grieg's "Holberg Suite" emerged decorous but full-blooded. Strauss's "Metamorphosen for 23 Solo Strings" was that composer's despairing threnody in 1944 for the destruction of everything he had lived for, as the German people starved and his beloved opera houses lay in ruins. Here the work's harmonic shifts succeeded each other silkily, like frames in a slide-show, with brief sunbursts of memory yielding to terminal collapse.
Rudolf Barshai's orchestral expansion of Shostakovich's "String Quartet No 8" – being that composer's threnody for himself – rang out with a dark-hued eloquence intensified by the brilliant acoustic of this lovely new hall, which could, if it chose, give Kings Place and the Wigmore a run for their money.
Is the comedy album making a comeback?comedy
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Woman and two children killed by mob in riots over 'blasphemous' Facebook post in Pakistan
- 2 The secret report that helps Israelis to hide facts
- 3 Danish TV reporter is all business up top, all party down below
- 4 Ross Burden dead: MasterChef and Ready Steady Cook star, dies aged 45
- 5 Businessman charged £75 for three small bottles of water in London hotel
The secret report that helps Israelis to hide facts
A day in the life of Vladimir Putin: The dictator in his labyrinth
Were 'Poor Doors' added to mixed developments so wealthy residents don't have to go in alongside social housing tenants?
A new Russian revolution: The cracks are starting to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc
Arizona execution lasts two hours as killer Joseph Wood left 'snorting and gasping' for air
Opponents of Israel's military operation in Gaza are the real enemies of Middle Eastern peace